Holiday Closure 2022

15 December 2022

It’s hard to believe that we find ourselves at the end of another busy and full year.  

While it’s fair to say that the year has thrown us a few challenges along the way, we are really proud at SMRC of what we have achieved, with more than 100,000 hours of service delivered across our 28 programs and social enterprises, and countless client stories featuring connection, growth and achievement. Sharing with you here our FY22 Annual Report.

But we couldn’t have done it without our partners and supporters. We have received much in-kind support throughout the year, and we’ve benefited greatly from our collaboration with individuals and agencies also committed to supporting migrants and refugees in the southeast of Melbourne. 

Thank you for helping us to do what we do. Wishing you and your loved ones a happy, healthy and joy-filled festive season from all of us at SMRC. 

We look forward to continuing to work with you throughout 2023. 

SMRC offices will be closed from 12 pm on Friday 23 December, reopening at 9 am on Monday 9 January. For urgent enquiries over this period (outside of public holidays), please call 0400 867 874.


Volunteers appreciated in End of Year Party

13 December 2022

Last Thursday, SMRC had the pleasure of hosting an end of year party for our volunteers. This was the first time we’ve been able to come together since the beginning of COVID. The room was filled with festive smiles and delicious food where we were able to thank our volunteers for all that they do for SMRC and the wider community.

Did you know that we have more volunteers than staff?! It goes to show that they are instrumental in allowing us to deliver the best quality programs we can. Across our STAR Homework Club, Social Support Groups, Learning Space English classes, Computer classes, corporate services, visiting programs and many more, our 160 dedicated volunteers spare time out of their lives to our community.

Volunteering makes a difference. It’s people like Ursula who received a 25 years of service award that embody the connection and passion it means to be a volunteer!

Volunteer with us today:

HIPPY fun filled 2022 Graduation

22 November 2022

Our HIPPY Dandenong program celebrated 25 graduating families last Friday. We all enjoyed, music, a photo booth, a fun magic show, pizza and cake! Congratulations on your wonderful achievement in our 2-year program.

This graduation follows a busy year and an announcement from the Department of Social Services to committing funding to the HIPPY Program for the next five years. A great evidence-based program that we know has had a positive impact on the lives of the families we’ve worked alongside in delivery of the program over many years. Its structured, education-focused model has been proven to lay the foundations for success at school and to show that a child’s earliest and most powerful learning comes from family. Last financial year, 55 families received support from 5 tutors at SMRC!

We are excited to deliver this program alongside the Brotherhood of St Laurence to support many more families in the future.

HIPPY is recruiting 30 families to start our program from Age 3! Please register your interest by contacting us on 9767 1900. Find out more:

Community Visitors Scheme celebrates 30 year anniversary

8 November 2022

Our Community Visitor’s Scheme (CVS) supports vulnerable and isolated people by matching dedicated volunteers with consideration given to diverse languages, cultures, ethnicity and interests. Last financial year our volunteers provided 2,163 connections through phone calls, face-to-face, digital connection and written communication

People in Victoria reported the highest level of loneliness 32.6% followed by NSW 14.6% and the rest of Australia at12.5%

One in two (50.5%) Australians feel lonely for at least:  one day in a week, while one in four (27.6%) feel lonely for three or more days. Which means, nearly 55% of the population feel they lack companionship.

Last Thursday, SMRC celebrated the 30th anniversary of CVS with our fun-loving volunteers! We enjoyed the tasty food of Afghan Rahimi Restaurant, dancers, singers and magicians from TW Musix and games that got the whole room up on their feet!

The friendship and connection that volunteers provide in the local community serves as a reminder that they can make someone’s day with a simple smile filled with compassion and empathy.

Volunteer with us today to make a difference in the community.

Carers Week recognises and celebrates carers and their outstanding role

26 October 2022

On Tuesday 18th October, SMRC hosted a spectacular Carers Celebration for all our carers. Over 40 people enjoyed different activities, a gentle massage, Filipino performance, dancing, Bingo and a multicultural lunch topped off with a large chocolate cake!

After two years, it was a joyous occasion to have 39 Clow St packed with smiling faces.

It was a great time to celebrate and thank our carers for all their unpaid work they provide to their families and friends

Find out more about our Carer’s Program.

Sangeeta, India

14 October 2022

Sangeeta was surrounded by the beauty of dance since she was four years old. Her family had a deep connection to dance and music and encouraged her to do competitions all over India. “Dance is my first love. It has so many contributions in my life. So I don’t want to lose that identity.”

Another love in drew her to Sri Lanka and on to immigrate to Australia in 2017. “For the first few years, only my husband was the bread earner. I think he had faced many challenges and he kept me free from all those difficulties.” Like many newly arrived migrants, Sangeeta couldn’t help but feel a sense of loneliness wash over her as she fell pregnant. However, it was the universal language of dance that connected her to the community she was seeking.

“A place that is unknown to me suddenly became people beside me now. I know each and everybody in this community, so it is only because of SMRC”.

She needed something to spark her happiness again and dance was that outlet. “I know the name SMRC reflects that they are an organisation for the improvement of refugee and migrant lives. I feel like I’m the best example of this I think because I have no PR (permanent residence) or citizenship. What exactly is SMRC doing? I’m a life example.” Whilst currently on her student visa studying a Bachelor of Nursing, Sangeeta reflects on her motto in life, “Now as a mother of two, I want to build my life to feed them because they deserve a good life.” Sangeeta is passionate about sharing her Indian culture through the universal expression of dance; “Everybody can understand the feeling … everybody has their own story.”

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